Monday, February 7, 2011

Mt. Major 2/6/11

"Frozen" (pictures)

Difficulty: Moderate (steep and rough especially on ledges)

Directions: From Alton, NH take Rt. 11 West and follow it for about 6 miles. Trail head parking lot is on the left (blue sign)
Report: The wind was howling outside as we awoke at 6:30am. It was an interesting night! What was originally supposed to be 3-6 inches of snow turned out to be an inch of snow and a night of sleet and freezing rain. To top that off a thunder storm rolled through about 11pm which took me by surprise! The sun was shining however this Super Bowl Sunday morning. The clouds were a-glow in dark orange as the sun rose from behind the hills. I quickly decided to scrap what was supposed to be a fresh powder snow shoe up Locke's Hill and instead do the undoubtedly ice covered Mt. Major. It had been some years since I have done Major in ice and I was excited.

We arrived at the trail head at 8:00am. Art was right on time (a Mt. Major regular) and he was heading up his usual way up the Express route off the boulder trail. We geared up, deciding to leave the little used snow shoes behind as the trail was well packed and holding a fresh crusty inch of snow. Threw the micro-spikes on and headed up the Mount Major trail. Trees were coated in ice and made an erie noise as the wind blew the branches to and fro. The rising sun shined through lighting them up like glass. I threw aside the occasional branch that lay in the trail, apparently not able to withstand the weight of the gripping ice on it's bow and falling to it's doom.

As we climbed the temperatures got cooler and the winds picked up. Scott began to fall behind but I pushed on and coaxed him along. We slowly snaked our way around bent frozen trees and snow drifts to the first ledge followed by the second ledge and then the third and final. We arrived at the summit at 9:30am. Winds were whipping at a face numbing 40 mph. Views were beautiful as always, although the Ossipee mountains and beyond were wrapped in gray snow clouds. Ice covered trees shined brightly in the sunlight up here. Snow was deep, nearly a foot and crusty on top.

Scott rejuvenated took the lead down as usual. We made our descent of the ledge and crossed paths with a lady hiking up with two dogs. One of the dogs this tiny little black thing was so cute and adorable! We talked with the lady a bit and the little dog kept barking at her to "let's go!" We soon arrived at the cut off for the Express route and made quick time down the softening snow. We passed Art on his second trip up this trail today! We chatted, I updated him on my parents whom he passed often on the trail and we returned to our descent. We arrived back down quickly, hitting the Boulder trail for a short 100 feet then back on the parking lot at 10:00am Always the perfect little hike on any day!


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  2. I enjoyed this report Jason. I like how descriptive you were in a way that read like a book. :) Nicely done! Keep pushing Scott, he'll be winter 4King it in no time!!! :)